The Fall portion of the 2019 Canadian Premier League season has kicked off at last, with six CPL outfits vying for a meeting with Spring winners Cavalry FC via a berth in the 2019 CPL Championship. A trio of matches on Saturday opened the Fall stanza with much aplomb, as FC Edmonton kept its winning streak alive at four in a row, York9 returned to the familiar woes of its scoring rut, and the Cavs got back on the right track against Pacific in a wild 3-2 result. Here's what we learned this week:
7. Forge lacking spark of something special

It's become quite clear that Bobby Smyrniotis' Forge FC team has the talent needed to compete for the CPL crown; attacking pieces like Kyle Bekker, Tristan Borges, and Emery Welshman, heck, even newcomers like Marcel Zajac, Anthony Novak, Kadell Thomas, and David Choiniere, and youngster Jace Kotsopoulos are all sufficiently talented individual performers on their day. But for an astounding goalkeeping gaffe, it's possible Forge FC could have taken something out of an eventual 2-1 loss to Edmonton … and, while Smyrniotis was quick to label Triston Henry's own goal as a “once in a lifetime” incident – which, fair – that moment alone wasn't necessarily the turning points in this matchup. For, playing at home in front of a rain-soaked crowd at Tim Hortons Field, Forge once again demonstrated the lack of bite up top that has limited this team to but a handful of half-chances at various points throughout the season. When Forge is clicking, they're as good as any team in the league, if not better; but Smyrniotis must find a way to find consistency alongside quality if results are to follow regularly. Bekker may be the man pulling the strings in the middle, but is that enough for this team of high-quality individual attackers? The Fall season is a long one, after all ...
6. Eddies benefit most from Fall reset

The fun part of this inaugural Canadian Premier League campaign is the split between Spring and Fall – it provides an opportunity for players, coaches, and teams to reassess, regroup, and have another meaningful go at a spot in the CPL Championship come Canada Day. No team has benefited more from that reset than FC Edmonton, who endured a torrid goalless drought midway through the Spring campaign, only to find themselves resurgent right when it mattered. Now, the Eddies have not only a clean slate to build on – those three points over Forge kicked off the Fall wonderfully enough – but those past failures don't necessarily have to haunt Jeff Paulus' team, either. It's the same for all teams, of course, but for Edmonton, the Fall reset is very much an opportunity to change the narrative and set along on a better course forward.
5. Okay Y9 – let's talk scoring, shall we?

Coming off the back of a three-goal romp of Valour FC, York9 kicked off its Fall campaign in an all-too-familiar way, failing to find the back of the net despite having more than enough possession – 63.5%, to be exact – against HFX Wanderers FC. Clearly, it's not a production issue – the Nine Stripes had more shots on target than HFX, and produced plenty of looks in both halves, getting 17 crosses off from out wide in open play, compared to HFX's eight. So, what's the problem here? We don't have to look far for an answer: As Paulus had previously explained when his team went through its own scoring slump, the location of those shots could be telling. Indeed, of Y9's 10 total shots over 90 minutes, eight came from outside the area, which are statistically less likely to actually find the back of the net. It's also possible that York9 has been unlucky, with Jan-Michael Williams making more than a few big saves for HFX … but good teams create their own luck, and York9 has to start creating more meaningful looks at goal, especially in the box.
4. Cavalry atop more than one chart

Besides dominating the Spring portion of the 2019 CPL season, Cavalry FC has emerged as a clear front-runner in another important tally: Goal celebrations. Case in point? Besides the now-meme level wiggle that Nik Ledgerwood and Sergio Camargo have displayed on multiple occasions, last night's 3-2 win over Pacific also produced this instant classic by the latter: For his efforts, Camargo now leads the league in scoring, with five goals. Why not pose for the cameras, right?
3. Makeshift HFX may be a reality

HFX Wanderers FC has dealt with more injuries and absences than many others, and while this team's road woes haven't necessarily been addressed, we have to commend the adaptability of Stephen Hart's players at home, where the Wanderers have well and truly established a fortress of their own. This week's adjustment came in the form of Akeem Garcia. The wily and dynamic winger slotted in up top for HFX Wanderers FC in the absence of both Luis Alberto Perea and Tomasz Skublak, and performed admirably in his new role, causing problems for the Y9 backline throughout the match with his smartly-timed, pacy runs and penchant for a good ol' fashioned dribble. He and Kodai Iida connected well up top, and Hart was left more than pleased with his interim No. 9, telling reporters after the match: "Whatever I ask him to do, as a matter of fact all the players, they just have to do their best and that's all you can ask of them." Perhaps that sentiment will be expressed many times this season, as HFX struggles to get their ideal XI out onto the pitch. But ... versatility is a good trait to have in these circumstances, too.
2. Can we talk about ...

... FC Edmonton striker Tomi Ameobi? The 30-year-old Englishman is no stranger to Eddies fans, having played with previous incarnations of this club, and has a healthy, club-leading scoring tally to boot. He added to it against Forge FC on Saturday, but more than that, Ameobi was instrumental in the attack, winning more than half of his 12 duels, and threatening Henry's goal when he could. Are we starting to see the return of Amoebi, the Eddies' fearsome goal-scoring threat? Perhaps, perhaps ...
1. Your photo of the week

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